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At Barrowford Labour Party’s January meeting, Mark Porter, a local trade union and party activist, led a robust discussion on the current Banker’s Pay dispute.
He said that, while difficult economic times meant uncertainty for millions of people, there was one constant that could be relied upon: the Banker’s Bonus. The meeting noted that despite the Tory manifesto promises to curb executive excesses, the latest round of banker’s bonuses just kept coming. Last week’s announcement that the chief executive of the bailed out bank RBS was due to receive a massive bonus on top of a salary of £1.2 million annual salary beggared belief.
The meeting was told that David Cameron had said he didn’t think it was right that employees should have a seat on company remuneration committees, but he did think it appropriate that shareholders be given rights to block such payments agreed by those committees. The government, which is the major shareholder in RBS and which should be demonstrating its serious intent to to tackle endemic executive high-pay, should therefore be blocking such enormous bonuses.
But the government did absolutely nothing. The chairman of RBS quickly announced that he would not take up all of his option of a £1.4 million bonus. But  it was not until several days later amid mounting pressure, most notably a motion tabled by the Labour opposition, as well as growing anger from the public that the CEO, Mr Hester, finally announced that he would not take up the bonus.
The meeting felt that if the government is unwilling to instigate regulatory reforms, despite widespread acceptance that they are needed to ensure the country’s financial stability, then surely they have lost the right to govern us!


Some of us will remember Margaret Thatcher’s British Gas sell off campaign in 1986.
To try and ‘include’ us working class oiks in buying shares in a company we already collectively owned, the Conservative government ran a successful campaign using the slogan, "If you see Sid...Tell him!"
What they didn’t tell Sid (and the rest of us) was that 25 years later many of us would be living in fuel poverty relying on Russia and the Near East for our domestic fuel. They didn’t tell us that our utilities would be owned by French and German companies. Nor did they tell us that each household would be paying the energy companies £125 in profit this year.

David Cameron and Chris Huhne entertained us last week with a Canute like performance and withdrew as soon as the tide turned ugly.

I understand that they cannot do anything directly about dwindling stocks of oil & gas nor can they do anything about world wide rising demand. But they can tackle high profits and stop the energy companies operating cartels.

They can also look to developing ‘clean coal technology’ and getting off their respective ‘widest bits’ to promote renewable energy.

We have seen a substantial hike in the number of people out of work in East Lancashire and unfortunately more will follow as a direct result of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Austerity Plan.
It is desperately sad that this winter many households in Pendle will be faced with the choice of turning the heating on to try to keep warm or putting food on the table. Whilst high paid company executives and bankers feast on their excessive bonuses and speculators gorge on their excessive accumulations of wealth.

This reminds me of an article I recently read, written by an old acquaintance, Roy Jones.

Roy wrote:
“In the Great Depression of the 1930s a spate of media articles advised the unemployed on how to survive on the pittance allowed them - the irony of which was most famously highlighted by Communist MP Willie Gallacher who, when the poor were told how to make soup from fish heads, wondered: "What happened to the rest of the fish?"



The BBC is reporting that members of the National Union of Teachers and the Associations of Teachers and Lecturers are expected to walk out on 30 June.  The seriousness of this action is reflected by this being the first time that the moderate ATL has ever taken national strike action. The unions say the pensions changes will leave them working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire.  I don't see any bonus-bulging bankers worrying about their pensions.

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